Even Miamians With Roommates Can't Afford Rent

There are lots of reasons to tread carefully when finding a roommate in Miami. If you're not in a relationship, your choices basically boil down to a high-school friend you will grow to hate, a co-worker you already see way too much of, some predatory old dude essentially looking for a live-in college-aged prostitute, or an uptight neat freak who will flip out if you don't use a coaster on her very expensive West Elm coffee table. Worst case, you end up with a creepy rando from Craigslist who actually tries to murder you.

After all of that trauma, it turns out that roommate still won't even make your rent affordable. New data from real-estate site Trulia shows Miami is the only major American city where renters with roommates still get squeezed.

In each of the other 24 rental markets examined by Trulia, including New York and San Francisco, residents who shack up with roommates can get their rent down to an affordable level of less than 30 percent of their income. Miami is the sole exception: In the 305, even those who share a two-bedroom apartment end up spending about 32 percent of their income to put a roof over their head.

Think you can come out ahead by moving into a three-bedroom with two roommates? Haha, good one! That'll save you only 72 bucks a month, and you'll still be sending 30 percent of your paycheck to your landlord every month.

A bar graph depicting why you'll never save enough for a down payment.
A bar graph depicting why you'll never save enough for a down payment.
Courtesy of Trulia

Though sharing an apartment won't make your rent affordable by the widely accepted 30 percent standard, you can still save a significant chunk of change by doing so. Based on the cost of $1,800 for an average one-bedroom, the typical renter in Miami would fork over half (!) of his or her income each month for the luxury of living alone. A two-bedroom split between two people, on the other hand, saves each person roughly $640 per month.

The stats are probably unsurprising to anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about Miami's affordable-housing crisis. The study doesn't address the larger problem, which is the fact that — though cheaper in the long run — lots of regular, working-class folks simply can't afford to save for a home even if they have the prudence to live with a roommate.

Meanwhile, every time a news site runs a think piece about why millennials "love" the "freedom" of renting, an angel loses its wings (and hopes the landlord doesn't cash the check until payday).


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